Chief executive officers in Saudi Arabia remain moderately optimistic about the growth prospects of the Kingdom’s economy, as it diversifies away from oil, according to a survey by KPMG Al-Fozan & Partners, an audit, tax and advisory service provider.
The cautiously pragmatic outlook of the CEOs in Saudi Arabia also reflects the fast-changing and challenging domestic and global environment, such as the slowdown in the private sector and looming trade wars.
In its second edition of the “Saudi Arabia CEO Outlook 2018” report, KPMG Al-Fozan & Partners said nearly two-thirds of Saudi CEOs are positive about the future growth prospects of the economy and remain positive about the government’s economic diversity programs and initiatives to reduce oil dependence, notably Saudi Vision 2030 and its realization programs.
In this year’s findings, 92 percent of CEOs in Saudi Arabia are confident about the growth of both their companies and industries over the next three years The latest CEO survey is based on the input of 50 CEOs in Saudi Arabia, who took part in the KPMG’s “Global CEO Outlook” report.
While the report found that global CEOs have become less positive about global growth compared with the previous year, CEOs in Saudi Arabia are more confident about future growth prospects than their global peers. The confidence level of Saudi CEOs about the global economy stood at 94 percent this year as against 55 percent last year.
Meanwhile, Saudi CEOs rank “return to territorialism” as one of the key challenges to their growth, with 74 percent finding it as one of the top three risks faced by their organization.
Abdullah Al-Fozan, chairman of KPMG in Saudi Arabia, said: “GCC economies have been experiencing an unprecedented change in the wake of a prolonged period of low oil prices. However, as Saudi Arabia embraces robust national strategies of economic diversification, its CEOs have expressed a very encouraging level of confidence in their business for the next three years.”
He added: “Saudi Arabian CEOs are positive about future growth, considering the economy is diversifying away from oil and real growth is expected to be supported by services and manufacturing. Moreover, a moderate recovery in oil production levels and marginally higher public spending are also expected to support a positive macroeconomic outlook.”
According to Arvind Singhi, head of clients and markets at KPMG in Saudi Arabia, 62 percent of the Saudi CEOs indicate developed markets as their biggest priority for geographical expansion over the next three years, with North America and Australia being the most important regions.